Bridgestone Canada has feted the 50th anniversary of the opening of its passenger and light truck tyre manufacturing facility in Joliette, Québec, ahead of a planned expansion.

The event also included a groundbreaking ceremony for the extension, which is part of a five-year investment that could total upwards of around US$250m.

“I’d like to congratulate the Joliette teammates and retirees on their work and contributions to the plant’s success,” said Bridgestone Americas COO, chairman & president, Bridgestone Americas Tyre Operations, Gordon Knapp.

“With its long-standing relationship to the Joliette community, as well as its commitment to environmental practices, I know this plant will continue to showcase the values and priorities of Bridgestone Americas for many years to come.”

Constructed in 1965 as a Firestone plant, the Joliette site started operations in 1966. Specialising in the manufacturing of passenger, SUV and light truck tyres, the plant celebrated the production of its 150 millionth tyre in 2014.

With 1,300 staff, the Bridgestone Joliette Plant is the largest private employer in the Lanaudière region.

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The multi-phase expansion of the facility will help the plant meet market demand, as well as increase productivity.

New equipment will be phased in during a five-year period in an effort to help the plant support North American markets and contribute to improved tyre performance.

The overall project will help increase plant capacity by 3,000 tyres per day to bring daily production to 20,000 per day by 2023.